Press

Task Force criticizes House leadership for placing its political interests above the interests of congressional pages

Date: 
October 03, 2006

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

“What’s clear is that the House leadership elevated holding onto a seat above the interests of young people in the page system. And they want to talk about ‘moral values’? Please.”
Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force today criticized U.S. House leadership for placing its political interests above the interests of congressional pages, as demonstrated by the growing scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley, who is under FBI investigation for salacious e-mail exchanges with at least one teenage page.

Statement from Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“Given similar past sordid situations in the page program perpetrated by male members of Congress against female pages, it’s absurd to blame the Foley spectacle on his being gay, closeted or otherwise. Given the fact that the current Republican leadership in the House has never hesitated to attack gay people, it’s even more absurd for people like Newt Gingrich to say the reason they didn't take prompt action was because they didn’t want to be accused of ‘gay bashing.’ Cut me a break.

“What’s clear is that the House leadership elevated holding onto a seat above the interests of young people in the page system. And they want to talk about ‘moral values’? Please.”

Conservative leaders on the Foley scandal:

When asked on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace why top Republican House leaders said nothing despite knowing for months that Rep. Mark Foley had sent inappropriate e-mails to at least one teenage page, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich remarked: “I think, had they overly aggressively reacted to the initial round, they would have also been accused of gay bashing.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, as quoted in an Oct. 3 story on CNSNews.com: “[The House GOP leadership] discounted or downplayed earlier reports concerning Foley’s behavior — probably because they did not want to appear ‘homophobic.’ The Foley scandal shows what happens when political correctness is put ahead of protecting children.”

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.